Over my career as a tattooist I’ve heard some shocking shizzle from people about previous experiences they’ve had.
I’m not so big headed and egotistical to think everyone is gonna walk through our doors for their tattoo or piercing, also our blog can be read from people all over; so I’m gonna do a public service here and offer out some free advise and info!
As we all know, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!
(I shouted that like He-Man at the beginning of He-Man when he’s power thrusting his sword in the sky in front of his castle shouting BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL!!! For all those under 30 He-Man was an epic cartoon that was on when i was a kid… its about a prince called Adam that gets given super powers to help protect his realm from evil shits, he had epic hair, wore impractically tight trunks and it was all very homo erotic!)
Health and Safety in the work place is a pretty boring and wanky thing that most people can’t really be arsed to discuss; and isn’t even considered when you’re in other places of business. its something thats taken for granted…
So if you go to b&q to buy something you don’t check up on the racking to make sure things are stored correctly and don’t fall on your bonce from 20 foot up.
And if you order a kebab, you don’t go into the kitchen of the take away to check out the standard of the fridge, make sure the chickens being kept in the correct conditions so you don’t shit in your pants on the way to work the next day.
Its just a given, and rightly so, because people should do there job.. unfortunately some people don’t do there job. Some people are inadequate fuckwits.
Ever had a dodgy kebab? I have.. been ill as shit because someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Someone didn’t follow the health and safety shizzle did they!
Now….. I got over my food poisoning in a day or two, not such a big deal in the scheme of things.
Tattooing however is a little different, you fuck that up and you could be messing with someones health long term 🙁 serious sad face.
Some people feel awkward to ask or discuss this sort of stuff with there tattooist; and some people can be quite intimidated by the whole process, but I’m here to tell you, theres nothing wrong in asking and to give you some pointers in what to look for…… HIGH 5!!!
So first off, id never be offended if somebody asked me if something was clean, or how we cleaned things. I’m always happy to answer those questions and I’m always happy to show people our equipment we use for sterilising.
Autoclaves, Ultrasonic baths and Industrial Strength Cleaning Products are all items that a
to ensure proper cleaning and sterilisation of equipment and surfaces, and should be found in your local tattooists or piercers. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask to see them if your not sure!
Also as a rule of thumb we always set up in front of people so they can see that everything is new and unused.
Blood born pathogens, like HIV, HepB, HepC and more can be spread through contaminated blood…
So lets start at the beginning of the process and presume that someones blood is carrying disease XY.
(which isn’t a real disease, i just made it up, cos I’m creative and i can’t be arsed to right contaminated 50 times)
The needle punctures your skin and essentially your blood stream..
There’s now XY on the needle.
There’s also XY in the ink on the needle, on your gloves, seat, machine, grip, tip, cable, trolley and potentially the floor.
Dip back in the ink, and get some more vasoline..
There’s now XY in the ink pots and the vasoline.
Rinse your needles out in the pot of water..
There’s now XY in the water.
Finish the tattoo and use the soap..
There’s now XY on the soap bottle.
Basically anything touched once you’ve started has XY on it, or anything that could be potenially spattered (what a word) all needs disposing of or sterilising.
(Also at this point i’ll just state that i only actually had to right XY 7 times so it wasn’t as bad as the 50 times i originally thought, but I’m still not willing to go back and swap it out..)
So! Theres a lot of people that think a new needle covers you, but as you now know thats not the case!
If a tattooist sets up for you and doesn’t clean down the bed, or his trolley, or changes just the needle and not the grip, uses the previous pot of water, etc politely tell them that your not comfortable with the set up and your not fully satisfied that everything is safe and sterile.
Any self respecting artist would go out of there way to make sure they appease your worries; and if your not completely satisfied then leave, its really not worth the risk!
Lastly chances are you’re not carrying a disease, but we treat you like you do (No Offence!)
but its the only way to do it; and more importantly its the only way to ensure we’re not responsible for giving you one!
JJ @ Studio 78